DeSantis’ Memos versus DeSantis’s Memos

Guess which spelling drives me nuts

Barry Lyons

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It’s generally the case that punctuation rules tend to be applied across the board. Here’s a common rule: “Start a sentence with a capital letter.” Everyone knows this rule. There is no controversy involved when beginning a sentence with a capital letter — unless you’re bell hooks, which only goes to show there can be exceptions to almost anything.

But for our purposes here, we are faced with a simply reality, in English: There are twenty-six letters in the alphabet, and if you want to denote the possessive case when a word is in the singular case (note the plural: “the kittens’ toys”), you add an apostrophe and an s: Harrison’s guitar, Lennon’s harmonica, McCartney’s bass, Starr’s drums, and so on for all the other letters in the alphabet — except for…s? Why is s exempted from this rule as is so often the case with many (but not all) publications? To wit:

DeSantis’ Disney chief suggests ethics commission ‘weaponized’ memo

DeSantis’ appointees ask judge to rule against Disney without need for trial

No. It’s not “DeSantis’ Disney chief”; it should be “DeSantis’s Disney chief.” It’s not “DeSantis’ appointees”; it should be “DeSantis’s appointees.”

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Barry Lyons

Not a fan of sports or religion. I guess that makes me a bad American.